Thursday, July 31, 2008

New special sheets

Last week, I saw that someone listed a sheet of Israel stamps that I had not seen before. It was the generic sheet with a soccer team on it. This 2 sheet set had a minimum bid of $49. I wasn't planning on bidding at all. Then, today I got an e-mail from a stamp dealer in Israel offering me the same sheets for $19 each ($38 for the set of 2). Instead of buying 2 sheets, each with the same stamps but different soccer players, I could get just 1 at a relatively reasonable price. The other thing I noticed was the printing date on the scans in the e-mail. The scans showed a 6/17/08 date, while the e-bay auction showed a 12/5/06 date. This led me to look back at what I had from the original sheets. I have 2 different dates, a FDC with a 7/17/03 date, and a mint sheet with a 1/12/04 date. I will need to check the latest Bale catalog, but my list of plate dates for this issue that I copied into a spreadsheet only shows 1 printing date, 7/17/03.

Friday, July 25, 2008

No takers?

Well, so far, I have had no takers for my business idea. Oh well. Not that I expected a flood. My sister was wondering where I was getting the free time to do this. No need to worry so far.

I really haven't had much time to spend on stamps recently. With the time I have been able to find, I did finish scanning and inventorying my shekel plate blocks. I ended up with over 300 different plateblocks, including some varieties not included in the Shekel definitive plate block catalog by Wallach. The Wallach catalog only goes through 1982, and some of the plate blocks were from late 1982, 1983 and 1984 printings. In addition, I found some phosphor errors (partially missing phosphor bars, phosphor spillage, and miscellaneous plate varieties. I haven't looked yet to see how many known varieties I am missing, but my early assessment was that there were 425 cataloged varieties. So, I am approximately 75% complete.

E-bay has been relatively slow recently. Nothing really interesting is being listed. My watch list has 5 active items, with 4 of these being Palestine overprints on Jordan stamps that I am hoping will go cheap. Even looking at recently sold items, there are only 2 interesting lots that I saw. The first was a complete set of Shekel plateblocks (98 dates), this sold for $102, catalog value for this is well over $300, so this is not a great result. Doing much better was a complete set of 21 olive branch plateblocks. This sold for $110, against a catalog value of $136. Guess selling my thousands of duplicate shekel plate blocks should wait.

Friday, July 11, 2008

New business...any takers?

I have mentioned before my new idea for a service that would take a collectors want list and match them up with sellers. I know I would make use of such a service, but I am not sure if others would. So, I figure, why not offer the service to people reading my blog? Here is how I will work it. Send me your want list (of Israel material only for now) and the price you want to pay for each item. I will then try and find the items for the price you set. If I can, I will collect payment from you and send you the item. If I do not find the item, you don't pay me anything. If I do, you pay only the price you set. How do I make money on this? Simple, I will try and find the item for less then the price you are willing to pay, and pocket the difference. Can I find you a set of 7-9 tabs MNH for $20? Highly unlikely, but you never know (of course, if I did find a set for $20, they would go to my collection, but you get the point). Will I make any money at this? Who knows, but it won't cost me anything to try!

Monday, July 7, 2008

I yield

A few months ago, Israel raised the postage rates by 0.05 NIS. Since I collect machine vended postage, I got an example of the new rate on the SIMA labels in use. I bought a mint example from each machine, as well as a FD of the new rate from each machine. Now, a few months later, they have again raised the rates another 0.05 NIS. I received a mail from a dealer I have bought from in the past in Israel, and he shows there are 13 machines (9 at post offices throughout the country, and 4 at the philatelic service). A set of 1 from each machine mint would be $30, and then FD covers another $100. If I wanted a complete set of 8 rates (rather than just the cheapest inland rate) from each machine, the mint price jumps to $247, and the FD price to $650. This is the 3rd change to these SIMA labels in the last 6 months (first, there was a change from purple ink to black, then the rate change from 1.50NIS to 1.55NIS, and now 1.60NIS). So, rather than shell out for this new rate change, I have decided that the rate change is not a new stamp, and just ignore it. I am sure there will be a whole bunch of new stamps with the new rate anyway, and I will continue to collect them. This is similar to the decision I made a few years ago to only collect a single example from each machine, at the lowest denomination, rather than a complete set of all 8 rates. It is just cost prohibitive.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Recent interesting lots on ebay

Since I don't have much to write about for my own collection, I will share some info on the last few lots that I watched end on E-bay without bidding. These are all items that I was interested in, but which closed out of my range. Of course, I am only sharing info on closed lots, since it wouldn't do to enlighten my potential competetion on my interest and strategy.

The most interesting lot I have seen on E-bay in a while is one of the largest I have seen offered on E-bay. This lot had over 5800 mint sheets, plus a whole bunch of extras. This lot started at 499 British Pounds, and attracted 20 bids, from 5 bidders to reach a final price of 15,850 Pounds (~$31,000). The seller claims that the 2004 catalog value of this lot is in excess of $150,000. However, the seller had set a reserve price (unknown what it was), so it did not sell. Obviously, this lot was well out of my reach, since I don't have an extra $31K around. Even if I did, I would not put it towards my stamp collection. But, it was interesting to see this lot, and I am sure it would have been a very interesting lot for someone had it sold.

One set that I have written about often on my blog here is the 10-14 vertical gutters. This week, there were 4 lots for this issue that I took notice of. The first was a set of vertical gutters with color tabs that failed to attract a single bid at the $4820 start price. The second was a partial set (just the lower 2 values) of plain tabs that also failed to attract a single bid, although at a much lower $170 start price. The third lot was a used set of plate number gutters without tabs. This one actually sold after 22 bids from 12 bidders for $228.50. The fourth was a matched set of plateblocks of 6 (plate #4). The plateblocks I have for this issue are all gutter blocks, but this lot was without the gutter pairs. This one attracted 19 bids and closed at $182.50.

The last lot I want to highlight was a large collection of Jordan stamps overprinted Palestine. These are relatively hard to find in MNH condition, and this lot had lots of blocks of 4, as well as some varieties (inverted overprint, double overprint) that would increase its price. But, the 43 bids from 10 bidders took this lot from its single cent starting price to a final price of $1150. I was expecting it to go for less than half that. Ever since the 2006 Bale catalog started listing these items, I have seen a steady increase in price and bids on these.